BPHC logoToday, Mayor Thomas M. Menino met with federal officials from the Departments of Justice, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services, along with the Corporation for National and Community Service to discuss Boston’s role as a leading city in implementing a comprehensive youth violence prevention and anti-gang strategy. Boston is one of six cities participating in the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, which was launched by President Obama in 2010.

Mayor Menino kicked off the two day visit at the Holland Community Center in Dorchester and was joined by Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West and Bea Hanson, Acting Director of the DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women.

“Collaboration is the key to success in Boston,” said Mayor Menino.  “What our federal partners will see while they are here is collaboration and teamwork in action at every level. Youth violence prevention is everyone’s job and responsibility – from residents living in our neighborhoods to the highest government official or business executive.  As the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention expands this year from 6 to 10 cities, it is clear that the Obama Administration is committed to collaboration at the highest level to prevent and reduce youth violence throughout our nation’s cities.”  

Mayor Menino kicked off the site visit by introducing the team to the “Super Teens” youth program in the Bowdoin/Geneva neighborhood.  Federal officials visited several federally funded programs aimed at preventing violence before it starts, as well as supporting families and teenagers with skills and resources to address violence when it occurs.  Federal partners learned about The Family Nurturing program, a community-based program that promotes positive parenting and supports nurturing relationships among family members.

This program currently takes place in 15 community sites by the funding of the Boston Public Health Commission as part of the federal Defending Childhood Initiative. Federal partners also participated in a healthy relationship workshop hosted by Boston peer leaders.  This program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a federal Engaging Men and Boys grant, allows for the training of young people and adults on what it means to be in a healthy relationship and how to prevent teen dating violence. Supportive parenting and skill building for teens are two important facets of the citywide violence prevention strategy.

Boston and the other participating cities are using multi-disciplinary partnerships, balanced approaches, and data-driven strategies to engage youth and reduce violence.  Boston’s strategy promotes positive youth development and family strengthening by prioritizing data-driven and evidence-based efforts.

The Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy are the Forum’s participating federal partners.  In addition to Boston, the other participating cities include Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Salinas, and San Jose.  The cities were selected based on need and geographic diversity, as well as willingness and capacity to undertake the comprehensive efforts that are the hallmark of the Forum.  Boston has demonstrated its commitment to reducing youth violence over the long run by investing significant amounts of time and energy to plan and implement data driven strategies.

Mayor Menino first presented Boston’s comprehensive strategy on youth violence and gang activity at the Summit on Preventing Youth Violence, April 4-5, 2011, in Washington, D.C.   More details about the Forum and summaries of the city plans are available at: www.findyouthinfo.gov.